LIVERPOOL winning and Manchester United losing used to be as rare as finding a world leader who is neither a narcissist nor psychopath – now it seems to be happening every other week.

 

The 1-0 loss at Bournemouth means mid-table United have not won back-to-back Premier League games since early March and have not kept an away clean sheet since early February.

Thirteen points from 11 games is the club’s worst start since 1986 – a date in time that gets pushed further and further back the longer the season goes on.

Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now lost more PL games (21) than Jurgen Klopp (20) despite taking charge of 104 fewer games.

Brilliant character actor Joaquin Phoenix would have struggled to replicate the Norwegian’s pained expression on the Cherries bench as he saw Joshua King hit the winner.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial managed just one shot on target between them, while lauded new signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka made his first real blooper when he totally over-committed himself in the build-up to the winning goal.

The mood around the camp could not be more different to Liverpool’s as the Reds scored twice late on to win 2-1 at Aston Villa to keep their six-point lead intact at the top of the table.

Sadio Mane’s glanced header was the 35th winning goal scored by Liverpool in the Premier League beyond the regulation 90 minutes — 10 more than any other side in the history of the competition — with five of those dramatic victories being clocked up since the start of last season.

So to this Sunday and the biggest game of the season, so far, as Pep Guardiola takes his domestic champions to the home of the European champions.

Something to take into consideration before this clash of the titans are the opponents the two sides have already faced.

Of the Premier League’s traditional ‘Big Six’, Klopp’s side have already earned 10 points by beating Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham and drawing away at Manchester United.

They have also seen off Leicester, looking well in contention for a top-four finish, courtesy of James Milner’s injury-time spot-kick.

City have only had one such fixture, held to a 2-2 draw at home by Tottenham, while they are still to play each of the teams currently occupying the top six positions.

So Liverpool away is a game City cannot afford to lose. The problem is the Reds have turned Anfield into a fortress and haven’t lost there in 45 Premier League matches stretching back to April 2017.

That Guardiola called Mane a diver after this last round of matches is very telling – and quite rich for a manager who has Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez on his team.

It shows the City boss is properly worried about Liverpool and the huge threat they pose to his dream of winning three titles in a row – a feat only achieved by Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United in English top-flight football history.

VAR is another big worry and the increasing concerns over how it is being used. Currently the officials at Stockley Park are a bunch of askholes – people who constantly seek advice, yet always do the opposite of what they’re told.

Every weekend there is a massively contentious issue. This weekend there were two when VAR ruled out Bobby Firmino’s perfectly good goal using wonky lines to show his armpit (!) was offside and failed to give a blatant Dele Alli handball.

Fortunately, for two very different reasons, they were not defining issues as Liverpool ended up winning and Andre Gomes’ horrific leg injury overshadowed everything else in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

A distressed Son Heung-min was sent off for the tackle on the Portuguese player but his red card was rightly rescinded as replays showed poor Gomes going over his own leg when his studs stuck in the turf.

Thankfully the Toffees midfielder, 26, is out of hospital after surgery to repair a fracture dislocation to his right ankle and is expected to make a full recovery. We wish him well.

BRILLIANT British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton became the second most successful driver in the sport on Sunday.

Hamilton started the day in Texas level with Juan Manuel Fangio on five titles, now he’s clear of the legendary Argentine and one behind record holder Michael Schumacher.

The 34-year-old’s driving is mercurial; he manages pressure well and is always ready to go the extra mile to win.

But comparing generations in this sport is pointless. There is no true, undisputed ‘greatest of all time’ and there never will be.

We simply cannot know how good Fangio would have been in today’s super-machines, while Hamilton’s willingness to drive on the edge could have been very dangerous indeed in the cars of old.

AND finally hello darkness my old friend – South Africa were hoping for a battle of wits but England appeared to be unarmed.

The Springboks were in total control in the World Cup final in Japan and the Red Rose were crushed 32-12.

Flanker Siya Kolisi had already created history against England when he became the Rainbow Nation’s first black Test captain last summer. Now he is his country’s first black World Cup winning captain.

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